The Christmas holiday season brings with it the dreaded realisation that Brussel sprouts may be the only side dish with your turkey, but there are several alternatives which will deliver lots of flavour, imagination and enjoyment to your meal.
An interesting recipe which could be served with a beef or lamb joint on Christmas Eve for example, is fresh tarragon green beans with butter, lemon and a splash of white wine. Melt three tablespoons of butter in a large, high-sided frying pan over a medium heat. Add a finely-chopped shallot and cook, stirring constantly until it is soft and translucent. Add the green beans and gently toss in the pan to mix with the butter and shallot. After 2 minutes, add 150ml of white wine to the mixture, and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook, while stirring often, for 10-12 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and when the beans are tender, another 3 minutes or so on this heat, mix in two tablespoons of fresh tarragon, squeeze over the juice of half a lemon, and season generously with crushed black pepper, and salt.
On Christmas Day you may want something more traditional to go with your roast turkey and roast potatoes. Live well for less’s Cauliflower cheese is a great example of a very tasty and easy to prepare side dish that will banish any memory of Brussel sprouts! All you do is boil the cauliflower in water for 8-10 minutes until soft and then place in an ovenproof dish. Take a saucepan and melt a little butter, before adding 40g of flour and keep over the heat for a minute. Remove from the heat and add 400ml of milk, stir continuously until the milk is incorporated then return to the heat. Keep over the heat, whilst stirring, until the sauce has thickened. Preheat the grill to a medium heat before adding half-a-teaspoon of mustard and 150g of cheese to the sauce. Season with nutmeg and lots of black pepper and then pour the sauce over the cauliflower, topping with enough breadcrumbs to cover and more cheese if required. Grill for 5 minutes until bubbling.
Another tasty accompaniment is roasted garlic and clementine carrots, which have a lot of flavour and are very simple to prepare. Peel the carrots and the outer layers of 2 garlic bulbs, halve 2 clementines and squeeze the juice over the carrots in a large roasting tin. Drizzle well with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Roast for 45 minutes in an oven at 200°C turning the carrots halfway through cooking. Alternatively, for those who would prefer a more traditional carrot dish, replace the clementines with a generous drizzling of honey, and two tablespoons of red wine vinegar. Similarly, you could do the same with roasted parsnips, or even both in the same roasting dish.
Finally, another excellent Christmas side dish – especially for those seeking slightly more exotic flavours – is a delicious cranberry sauce, with a ginger and garlic clove twist. In a medium-sized saucepan, put in a bag of cranberries, about eight tablespoons of dark-brown sugar, a measuring cup of water, a tablespoon of finely grated and peeled ginger and one or two finely-chopped cloves of garlic. Bring it to the boil over a high heat before reducing to a simmer, stirring occasionally until the cranberries have burst and the sauce is slightly thickened – this is the pectin reacting with the sugar during cooking. Remove from the heat and leave to cool before serving as a fantastic fresh accompaniment to your turkey.
Written by: Vanessa is a blogger and work-from-home mum who writing about cooking and parenting, when not tied up by her two toddlers. She’s also into arts and crafts, likes things that glitter and any excuse for a childrens’ party.